Surveillance footage showed the girl leaving the American Airlines Arena with a man after going to the restroom before halftime. Police found her a week and a half later in a hotel room in Oklahoma City. She was rescued after the girl’s parents identified her through nude photos posted online, advertising her for sex.
Attorney Zeke Fortenberry is representing the family in the case, arguing that police should have done more to help the father find his kidnapped daughter. The attorney also listed the arena, the Mavericks organization and the Oklahoma City hotel as parties that potentially could have prevented the horrific crime.
“This girl was being sexually assaulted in a hotel room multiple nights,” Fortenberry said. “Any time she could have been rescued from that sooner would have been better.”
The reason the attorney is implicating the arena and the Dallas Mavericks is that the man who kidnapped the girl reportedly gained access to the game with a fake ticket allegedly sold to him by someone known to the team and the American Airlines Center for pawning phony tickets. As for why he has sent a letter to the litany of organizations, Fortenberry said, “Our intent is to put these organizations on notice that we’re pursuing claims against them for their negligence and other causes of action.”
Ultimately, a Houston-based anti-trafficking organization, the Texas Counter-Trafficking Initiative, successfully located the missing teenager using facial recognition technology. The group was able to swiftly locate a photograph of the kidnapped daughter online, according to the family attorney. The initiative then immediately contacted staffers at the hotel in Oklahoma City. Local police officers then located the young teenager and arrested eight people in connection with the crime. Authorities charged the eight people with various crimes, ranging from felony warrants to human trafficking rape.
“It’s not something that we take lightly whenever we are given tips or information that there is someone that we believe to be in danger possibly in our area,” said Sgt. Dillon Quirk of the Oklahoma City Police Department. “Fortunately, it really worked out in the end to find this person safely.”
Law enforcement officers in Oklahoma City were notified of the missing girl on April 14. They were told a teen girl from Dallas was at the local hotel, where she was “being trafficked for commercial sex purposes.” The local officers’ investigation led them to convicted sex offender Kenneth Nelson, who used an Oklahoma state I.D. card under an alias to purchase the collection of hotel rooms. The name on the I.D. Nelson used is that of a real person who lives in Oklahoma and “could cause financial liability” for that individual, according to police.
According to an affidavit filed by police, they obtained a search warrant for the hotel rooms rented by Nelson. During the search, officers were able to identify the location shown in the explicit photos of the underage girl.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice